CONTRACT KILLERS IN CUSTODY, AGENTS SAY FEDERAL RAIDS
TARGET DETROIT DRUG DEALING
Detroit Free Press (MI) - Friday, February 26, 1993
Author: CHRISTOPHER COOK Free Press Staff Writer , Free Press Staff Writers JEFFREY S.
GHANNAM , and ROBERT MUSIAL contributed to this report.
Federal agents Thursday swept up people they described as leaders of a ring responsible for more
than 50 slayings in the metro area, mostly of other drug dealers whose wares they stole and sold.
Agents of the U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)
arrested Clifford Jones , the alleged leader, six of his alleged lieutenants and nine others
believed to be hit men, affiliated drug dealers or clients. Two other people were being sought.
All those arrested were jailed without bond on various narcotics, firearms and conspiracy
charges. U.S. Attorney Stephen Markman said he would seek more serious charges later in what
he termed a murder conspiracy.
Law enforcement officials said the so-called Clifford Jones organization was paid $7,500 to
$25,000 each for at least 50 contract killings. They said the group has been active, mostly on
Detroit's east side, since 1984.
The group accepted contracts for killings in Farmington Hills and Southfield, but those were
thwarted by law enforcement officers, agents said.
Bernard LaForest, agent-in-charge of ATF's Detroit office, said Jones sometimes settled debts
for drug dealers one day, then killed them and took their drugs and money the next. He said
Jones is so feared that some dealers sentenced to long prison terms refuse to acknowledge that
they know who he is.
Markman called the Jones gang "one of the most violent, brutal and ruthless organizations"
Detroit has seen in a generation.
ATF agents arrested Jones on Thursday morning at a three- bedroom bungalow in the 20200
block of Roscommon in Harper Woods -- a neat, trim home valued at about $75,000, which
belongs to Darlene Harrell. Agents said she and Jones have two children together.
Neighbors expressed shock. "I didn't think there was anything like that happening in Harper
Woods," said Helmie Carlson. Eleanor Eichbrecht found it frightening: "They said he is a hit
man. But I never saw him over there before. This is pretty weird for Harper Woods."
LaForest said a three-year investigation led to Thursday's arrests.
Detroit Police Chief Stanley Knox said he could not say why federal agents, not his officers,
caught the alleged murder-for-hire ring.
Federal authorities believe Jones or his associates are responsible for the October 1990 murder
of Demetrius Holloway, who authorities said then controlled four-fifths of Detroit's cocaine
trade. No one has been charged in that murder. Holloway was shot as he shopped at the
Broadway clothing store, two blocks from Detroit police headquarters. He had $14,000 in cash
and a .32-caliber pistol in his pocket.
Federal agents said Jones , a lieutenant in Holloway's group, took it over after the murder. They
said he now employs Holloway's half brother, Glenn Cannon of Mt. Clemens, also named in
charges filed Thursday.
ATF agents said Jones ran a cool, efficient machine that operated much like a paramilitary
group.Killings were carefully planned and rehearsed. Federal wiretaps are said to show Jones
checked and double-checked his information by telephone before moving.
Those held in the case include Detroiters Shawn Ingram, Lester Jones , Kevin Jones , Larry
Jones , Sebastion Haliburton, Lathan Hutchins, Lamar Clark, Joseph Simmons, Joseph Helms,
Jerry McKinney, Gregory Johnston, Maggie Anderson and Wadrekus Amos. Johnnie Bernard
Mack of Detroit is already in federal prison.
When agents raided Simmons' east side home Thursday, they found $40,000 in cash rolled and
stuffed into the tubular legs of a dining room table.
The case was built on evidence from informants -- some in prison -- and court-authorized
Agents said Jones ' group even killed one of its own members, Levon Sutton. And reputed drug
dealer Steven Washington is believed to have been killed by the group after coming up $150,000
short on a drug debt.
Community activist John George, who heads the Motor City Blight Busters, said he was gratified
by the citywide raids. "When you have these vigilante, machine gun-toting gangsters roaming the
streets . . . it makes it hard for citizens and neighborhood groups to say, 'OK, let's go out and
plant flowers to keep up our area.'